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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• BLUE NORTHER STARTER AN IDEAL PURCHASE FOR CASSIDY
• GAME ON DUDE WORKS TOWARDS SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
• HAPPY NEW YEAR STARTS FOR STUTE FAMILY, ALEX BISONO
• ON-TRACK PICK SIX BONUS AT SANTA ANITA STARTS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
• ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF CARACORTADO’S BREATHTAKING WIN
SOMETHINGABOUTHER TRAINING WELL FOR BLUE NORTHER
Trainer Jim Cassidy is optimistic about Somethingabouther’s chances to register her first stakes victory when she runs in Tuesday’s feature at Santa Anita, the $75,000 Blue Norther for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
Trained by John Dyer in her first two races, the bay daughter of War Chant is winless since her first start, when she scored a front-running victory at five furlongs on turf at Indiana Downs. “Her early form was good,” Cassidy pointed out as one reason he purchased her. “She’s a hard-trying little filly and she’s coming up the race really well, so I’m happy with her.
“I bought her privately (for owner Deron Pearson of Valencia, who’s in the telecommunications business). I liked her conformation, her attitude, and the price was right.”
The field for the Blue Norther: Heir Kitty, Garrett Gomez, 7-2; Scarlet Strike, Joe Talamo, 3-1; Fiftyshadesofhay, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Secret Motive, Agapito Delgadillo, 12-1; Wittgenstein, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; Akiss Forarose, Orlando Mojica, 30-1; Escape Act, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Somethingabouther, Mike Smith, 15-1; Wildcat Angie, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; Sky High Gal, Julien Leparoux, 7-2; Travesura, Tyler Baze, 9-2; and also eligible Birdlover, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1.
GAME ON DUDE DRILLS HALF-MILE WITH MARCH 2 BIG ‘CAP IN MIND
With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard, Game On Dude worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Monday morning in 48 seconds flat as he prepares for his next major goal, the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.
The 6-year-old Awesome Again gelding won the Big ‘Cap in 2011. First up for Game On Dude, however, is the Grade II San Antonio Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 3.
“He went nice,” Bob Baffert said. “I got him in like 48 and one. He looked really good. Mike was happy with the way he ran.”
GARY STUTE, BISONO HAVE HAPPY ENDING TO 2012
Good things come in twos for Gary Stute. The son of retired trainer Mel Stute won two races back to back at Santa Anita yesterday, Tiz Dynamic ($16.40) in the sixth and Arresting Officer ($12.60) in the seventh. Each horse was ridden by Alex Bisono.
“I also won two races in one day at Hollywood on Dec. 15 and two when the Breeders’ Cup was run at Santa Anita in November,” Gary pointed out. “I guess I have to run two or three on the same day.”
Gary had high praise for the 28-year-old Bisono, whose book is handled by agent Brandon O’Bryan.
“Every horse I put that kid on, he rides perfect,” Stute said. “He hasn’t given me a bad ride yet. I used to ride him years ago when Debbie Olsen (currently working as Santa Anita’s Publicity Coordinator) had his book. He went to ride in Northern California for a while, and when Matt (Garcia) quit riding, he was always my go-to guy, so I didn’t really have anyone.”
On hand Monday morning to help celebrate Gary’s big day was his 85-year-old father, Mel, recovering from a head injury in a spill two weeks ago. Mel, with the aid of a walker and family and friends, made it to his regular table at Clockers’ Corner despite nippy weather that had dipped into the 30s before sunup.
“It’s good to be here again,” said Mel, who didn’t push his luck first day back, opting not to stay for the races.
SANTA ANITA OFFERS 20 PERCENT BONUS TO ON-TRACK PICK 6 WINNERS
Beginning tomorrow, New Year’s Day, any person holding a winning Pick Six ticket purchased on-track at Santa Anita will receive a 20 percent bonus on top of the winning price, provided they swipe their Thoroughbreds Card at any pari-mutuel window prior to placing a Pick Six wager on any non-Pick Six carryover day.
The 20 percent Pick Six bonus is also applicable to Pick Six wagers placed on-track through any smart phone. Fans are encouraged to visit information windows at Santa Anita to register for an account.
“This is an important initiative for our on-track fans,” said Santa Anita President and General Manager, George Haines. “The Pick Six is the most popular, high profile wager offered in California and this 20 percent on-track bonus will go a long way towards enhancing that tradition.
“We want to encourage everyone, if they haven’t already done so, to join our Thoroughbreds Club in order to be eligible for the bonus. It is absolutely free and it takes just a minute to join. This is a great incentive for our best customers to come and experience a day at the races with us on-track and we look forward to being able to make the trip worth their time.”
Fans may visit the Thoroughbreds Center, on the main floor of the Grandstand to sign up on any race day.
During the month of January, Santa Anita will offer a retroactive Pick Six bonus to those who have not yet signed up as Thoroughbreds Club members, in order to facilitate the implementation of the new program. For those who have not yet become Thoroughbreds members during the month of January only, players can bring their winning Pick Six ticket(s) to any information window where they must fill out required documentation in order to become eligible for the 20 percent bonus.
The Pick Six is two dollar minimum wager and consists of the last six races on each day’s race program at Santa Anita.
IDLE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, CARACORTADO STILL ON HOLD
It’s been almost a year since Caracortado won the Daytona Stakes with a scintillating last-to-first victory that had racing experts mentioning his burst in the same breath as those of a Thoroughbred of yesteryear whose stretch rallies made him a household name, Silky Sullivan.
Caracortado hasn’t raced since. The California-bred gelding who turns six on New Year’s Day came out of the Daytona on Jan. 8, 2012 with an injury to the frog on his front foot. He did resume breezing on occasion, but one false start after another kept him from getting back to the races.
Mike Machowsky hasn’t given up on the rags-to-riches son of Cat Dreams, owned by Steve Altman (AJL Productions), Don Blahut, Tom Kagele and Machowsky, who races as Lo Hi Stable.
“He’s doing fine,” the trainer said of Caracortado, who rallied from 13 lengths back at the half-mile marker in the about 6 ½ furlong Daytona to win by a length and a quarter under Rafael Bejarano.
“The horse is galloping, but there are no plans for him right now,” Machowsky said. “We had to let the frog grow back in. When he breezes again depends on the weather.
“Every time the track gets muddy, I tack-walk him instead of train him. That’s probably what created the problem before.”
Meanwhile, Caracortado (scar face in Spanish) rests on his laurels, which were quite extensive before he was sidelined. After an inauspicious $40,000 maiden claiming win in his debut, at Fairplex Park on Sept. 24, 2009, he reeled off four more consecutive victories, including the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita in February of 2010.
In 19 career starts, he has nine wins, two seconds and three thirds, with earnings of $864,105. Meanwhile, the racing world will stay tuned.
FINISH LINES: Simon Callaghan Monday morning amended his post-race quotes that had Robert J. Frankel Stakes winner Qaraaba pointing next to the Santa Barbara Handicap on April 20. “She came out of the race good and she’s perfectly sound this morning,” the trainer said of the 5-year-old English-bred mare, who was making her first U.S. start. “Maybe we’ll go to the Santa Ana in March (24). We’ve got the Gamely and the Beverly D in mind down the road as well. We’ll figure it out.”. . . Agent Brian Beach reports that Corey Nakatani, still sore from a fourth-race spill on Saturday, took off his scheduled two mounts Monday . . . Prospective jockey Austin Solis, 20-year-old son of jockey Alex Solis, was on hand at Santa Anita Monday morning from Gulfstream Park in Florida. “He’s been working horses here for (Richard) Mandella, (Dan) Hendricks, (Carla) Gaines and (Peter) Eurton,” said Beach, who is mentoring Austin during his visit in anticipation of the youngster one day obtaining his jockey’s license . . . Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, Santa Anita will offer a free Santa Anita Commuter Mug to all THOROUGHBRED members at Santa Anita, while supplies last. Santa Anita will be dark Wednesday and Thursday and resume racing on Friday, Jan. 4 at 1 p.m.